Imagine Moscow

The ‘Palace of the Soviets’

On the eve of the centenary of the Russian Revolution, London’s Design Museum is hosting an exhibition, which visits the architectural scene of Russia post the revolution that is still left unrealised. In the period 1920s to 1930s, propaganda fueled politics and a society that inhabits it, mixed with architecture for Russia. The brand of socialism which Russia paraded had numerous important factions, such as education, communication and work. Following the revolution, this mammoth task was left on the shoulders of architects to come up with ideas for a better society than before, one that improves the world and one that beckoned a new life for Russians.

Featured in a descending spiral, some of the important design points of the exhibition includes, a typical timetable, which highlights the daily routine for coal miners broken down into minute-by-minute segments, geometric shapes, drawings and models of dramatic buildings, artworks, a communal house designed to inspire women to leave behind family life and take up a job instead, and propaganda items.

There is too much control and deadly ambition about through all of the many works, which is how I have often perceived the Russian state to be. My favourite part from the exhibition is the concept of skyscrapers at the time, that it exhibits: apart from what would have been the tallest building in the world, if it was built, if works on the planned skyscraper which had begun in 1937 and the German invasion of 1941, which eventually ended the Nazi Germany era in Germany, had not ended it – a symbol of Russia’s newfound centralised power, Palace of the Soviets, there is the Cloud Iron. It is a string of horizontal skyscrapers, which aimed to help with overcrowding problems and public transport, which was often scanty.

The blueprint of ‘Palace of the Soviets’ comprised a 100m statue of the Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin.

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